As work cultures across the globe continue to undergo massive changes, we are beginning to discover that there are many ways virtual workspaces have proven effective, and at times, even preferable. That is not to say, however, that they don’t come with their own rigors. The learning curve can be significant for some as they realize the strategies they used before their workspace was transitioned online just don’t work the same anymore. If you have run into any difficulty facilitating an online workshop, this guide is for you. Below, we will detail some examples of amazing virtual workshops you can introduce into your day or easily integrate into your schedule. If you are new to virtual workshops we recommend you read up on our comprehensive guide or go to our blog page to read up on all of our virtual workshop series.
Virtual Workshop Examples
Virtual Brainstorming Workshop
Brainstorming was meant to be done together, putting multiple minds together as one and dreaming up crazy solutions to ever crazier problems. Many people run into walls when brainstorming and find it more difficult than ever to effectively brainstorm virtually, so it’s important to sometimes dedicate an entire workshop/meeting to the brainstorming process instead of adding it on to another activity.
When applying traditional methods brainstorming virtually can be quite difficult, so it’s critical that you pivot to using a collaboration tool to brainstorm efficiently. Current collaboration tools like Mural and Miro are terrific at enabling teams to come together online. You can use a blank whiteboard as a scratch pad, create your own simple board, or use one from their database of established templates. Utilizing a collaboration tool means that your team can hold an effective brainstorming session that either meets your previous expectations or allows you to brainstorm in new and creative ways. Whichever you decide to do, these tools make brainstorming a breeze and are a necessary addition to your next virtual workshop.
Mind Mapping Exercises
Mind mapping is the process of following ideas through to their ends, which helps discover the nucleus of the issue at hand. Using mind maps is a great tool to use in order to understand multiple viewpoints and angles of a customer or a business, and can be a creative way to diagram the possible difficulties people run into when interacting with a product. Collaborating on a mind mapping session can have a diverse range of applications to any business/company, and is very easily navigated online.
Given that mind mapping is a generally collaborative process, it can easily pivot to an online atmosphere. Using a visual collaboration tool allows you to and your entire team to add and edit the mind map at once, while simultaneously collaborating with each other’s ideas. This is a great example of a virtual workshop that, paired with an effective visual collaboration tool, can be smoothly transitioned online and may be able to address new and creative solutions previously out of reach. If you are navigating an online workshop and are looking for a creative way to diagram possible solutions, look no further than a simple mind map.
Icebreakers and Team Building
While it may not seem apparent, icebreakers and team-building exercises can be great guideposts for virtual workshops and, despite not being in person, can provide fluidity and social relief for participants. Normally an Icebreaker is used to introduce people to each other, but virtually it can be a great way to kick off a meeting, even when everyone knows each other.
Especially due to the lack of personality virtual meetings hold, adding some extra flavor is a great way to get people engaged and focused. Starting these meetings can be a stiff process, even with people you work with daily. When done virtually, the purpose of these icebreakers changes from meeting people to creating a comfortable and collaborative environment. Regardless of what purpose your team-building exercise serves, it can be a very helpful tool to engage your team and should be integrated into your next virtual workshop.
Design Thinking Workshops
Design thinking is a process in which teams attempt to understand their customer, reimagine problems, and brainstorm creative solutions previously out of reach. This workflow cannot be replaced, so it is essential that you implement it as a virtual workshop. By doing this, teams can creatively define new possibilities to find new solutions. There are many design thinking exercises that you can implement to achieve your goals, and using collaboration tools is a great way to expedite that process
There are many different design thinking exercises you can utilize and they make for great virtual workshops. Combining multiple of these exercises or weaving them into your brainstorming sessions can create a diversity of thought and stimulate new ideas from your team members. If you aren’t already utilizing design thinking exercises to enhance your workshop creativity, I highly recommend it, and doing them virtually can add another layer of intricacy and diversity to your virtual workshops. If you want more suggestions on design thinking exercises to implement read our article on design thinking exercises.
One virtual workshop that is commonly used, and can be carried over from traditional workshops is Customer Journey Mapping or a broader lens of customer-centric thinking. This workshop is similar to design thinking in that it is an approach to collaboration that is structured in its thought process, and that structure often guides how it manufactures solutions.
Customer Journey Mapping is crucial to be able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and experience how they interact with your brand, and also realize their most common pain points. Customer Journey Mapping is simply an application of customer-centric thinking, which can be applied to your workshop to provide a unique structure of thought, shedding new light on your previous issues/solutions. Thinking with a focused lens is a great way to streamline your workshop and provide it with a unique structure of thought, something that is very helpful when conducting an effective virtual workshop.
These five examples of various virtual workshops are easy for you to implement within your existing workshop, or structure an entire meeting around. Especially with most work environments transitioned online, it is increasingly important that you are creating diverse and collaborative workspaces your entire team can participate in. Implementing any of these examples into your routine can do just that, and take your virtual workshops to the next level.